Coming to terms with classical virtual performances, a year into pandemic lockdowns

Posted on: March 16, 2021

“During the 12-month pandemic lockdown, the experiences of classically trained musicians performing for a camera instead of live audiences are strikingly prismatic,” writes Lou Fancher in last Monday’s (3/8) San Francisco Classical Voice. “The portraits painted in conversations … fill a broad spectrum. Their responses range from poetic to practical to pensive to feeling trapped-in-a-digital-prison and beyond…. Their online awareness or level of expertise engaging with digital technology varied tremendously in March 2020…. The musicians all say their professional careers now and forever forward will consist of a hybrid of live and virtual performances…. Ultimately, virtual performances will never convey to me the human body’s elusive, intangible choreography when seen live, or carry the near-palpable energy as a dynamic performer meets my eye, or appears to, and the connection is felt in a way that can only be called electric. Which means that much like the musicians, this viewer’s experience remains prismatic and she can’t wait for musicians to once again be real, live, onstage.” Among those profiled in the article are pianists Sarah Cahill, Allegra Chapman, Lara Downes, and Barron Ryan. jazz vocalist Tiffany Austin, soprano Sara LeMesh, vocalist and composer Majel Connery, and bandleader/composer/bassist Marcus Shelby.